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Full text of "How to raise squab for profit"

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■ "*i.-:,i?-jS£-i:'*K,--J3s 




Frank A. Reilly 



H <^> to Raise 
SQUAB 



FOR PROFIT 



By 

Frank A. Reilly 

Proprietor 

The Homer Squab Co 

Lindenhurst, Long Island 



LIBRARY of CONGRESS 
Two CoDies Received 

DEC 22 1904 

CoDyrigiti tniry 

CLASS «*- XXc. Noi 
/O t^Sf (d 
COPY B. 



Copyrighted IQ04 
jFrantt a. Kftllp 

Lindenhurst, L. 1. 



PUT IN TYPES 
AND PRINTED AT THE 
GOERCK ART PRESS 
BROADWAY AT olst ST. 
NEW YORK 






Introductory 



DUETXCt tlie past few years I have been constantly receiving letters 
from all over the country asking for information and instruc- 
tions regarding the raising of squabs. 

Lack of time and pressure of business have prevented me giving 
my customers and correspondents the benefit of my experience and 
success in this industry. I have therefore decided to issue this booklet, 
and in it I will endeavor to tell, as concisely as possible, the things 
to do if one is anxious to enter this business for profit, also the things 
to avoid doing. 

Experience, as every one knows, is an expensive teacher. I have 
been like many others and started out thinking I knew more than was 
needed. Every year I have learned something new. I have been a 
close student, and have studied the ways and habits of pigeons for 
years. Every l)ook I could secure on the subject was eagerly devoured 
and thoroughly digested. 

From poultry magazines, to which • I have subscribed, I have 
learned and read of the experiences of many breeders; and although 
I could not sanction all the methods they employed, I frequently 
secured information which later proved profitable to me. 

People have written asking me to suggest some manual or treatise 
they should get to guide them in raising squabs and pigeons. This 
I could not do, as I do not remember reading any such work which 
1 could conscientiously endorse. In each and every one there has 
always been something of which I did not approve. 

I have always contended, and always shall, that to make a suc- 
cess of anything you have to begin right. There is no use to start 
out with poor birds. They are cheap to begin with, but later prove 
expensive. A beginner should start with the best stock, well mated. 
Xaturally, they cost more, but in the end they are more profitable. 



as they produce healthier, fatter squabs than the common ordinary 
pigeons. I favor the Homer strain, and am well satisfied with my 
success with them. They produce very fat offspring which readily 
finds a market. In fact, there is a demand for thin scrawny squabs, 
but they do not bring the price of fat, meaty ones. 

If a man starts to raise poultry he will find that it will not pay 
him unless he has three or four thousand fowls. These would require 
the undivided attention of two or three men. The poultrymen of tlie 
middle West who raise tens of thousands of chickens can ship their 
products in large quantities at a cheap freight rate, and generally 
undersell the breeder who is nearer the market, but doing business 
on a smaller scale. In the squab business it is different, as one man 
can easily attend to 1,000 or 1,500 birds without devoting his entire 
time to them. 

There is a growing demand for squabs — North, South, East and 
West. They make one of the daintiest dishes on a hotel bill-of-fare, 
and are especially recommended for invalids. 

To a beginner, I would suggest starting with fifteen or twenty 
pairs of breeders, gradually increasing the flock until the returns 
make it a profitable business. 

Anyone who has a small amount of patience, starts with good 
stock, and follows the instructions contained in this book, can feel 
reasonably assured that his venture will turn out profitably. 

Fkaxk a. Eeilly, 



JSIanager and Proprietor. 



Homer Squab Co.. 
Lindenhurst, 
Lone: Island, IST. Y. 



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Starting with Good Stock 



THE beginner should exercise a great deal of care in the selection 
of the birds to commence with. Do not buy the plant of some 
one who has become disgusted with the business and is ready to quit. 
His birds are probably poor and sick, and he has probably neglected 
them to such an extent that they are worthless as breeders. Get your 
stock from a man who makes it a business to raise and sell breeders 
Insist upon getting young, vigorous birds, a year old at least. Pigeons 
breed until eight or ten years old. I am partial to the Homer breed. 
Experience with several varieties has strengthened my preference for 
this strain. I do not like the Duchesse birds on account of their 
feathered legs. To cross them with Eunts or Homers requires too 
much time and attention. The Dragoon is a bird that is much ad- 
mired. It is a fine show bird, but in my opinion is excelled for squab 
raising by the straight Homer, which are excellent breeders, take good 
care of their young and very prolific. The Eunt is a large bird — 
and very expensive, some of them selling from $6 to $10 a pair, and 
iire therefore too costly to a man who wants pigeons for squab raising. 
Furthermore, they do not take the best of care of their offspring, do 
not breed frequently enough to make them desirable stock. 

There are a number of other breeds, such as Tumblers, Silver, 
Silver Dun, or White Antwerps, Fantails, etc.. but there is objection 
to each as squab raisers. What is most desired is fat, meaty, clean 
legged squabs, and the Homer breed in my estimation is the best stock 
to produce these. 

If a beginner gets a good-sized flock together the first year, and 
has succeeded in getting his birds well mated, he should begin to cull 
out the poor ones, and always try to keep his stock up to the highest 
possible standard. It is the object of the breeder to produce as many 
pairs of squabs from his stock as possible each year, consequently 
wlicn it is discovered that a hen lays l)ut one eg^^, instead of two, or 
is irregular in her laying, it is the wisest thing to get rid of her and 
find a new mate for the male if he is a good, strong, healthy specimen. 



Determining the Sex 



OXE of the most bothersome things wliieh confront the breeder 
is distinguishing the sex of the birds. Outwardly there is no 
difference in the appearance of the male and female. Some of the 
methods employed to secure this information are : examining the bones 
of the OS sacrum, or vent; holding the head of the bird in one hand 
and the feet in the other, then stretching them out — if the tail is 
hugged downward the bird is a male, if it throws its tail it is a hen. 
If an examination of the vent shows the breast-bone to l)e short, and 
the bones of the vent wide apart, the bird is supposed to be a hen ; if 
the bones are close together and the space between them small, it is 
assumed that the bird is a male. These methods can not always be 
relied upon, as I have often seen them fail. 

By watching the birds closely 3'ou can determine without the 
shadow of a doubt their sex. The male bird, as in the case of every 
living thing, does the wooing and pursues the female. He does most 
of the cooing, and is the most active. The hens are finer about the 
heads, quiet and not combative like the males. 

A mating pen is al)solutely necessary if your birds are not all 
mated. A boy can make one, as it is nothing more than a box, 10 or 
13 by 24 or 30 inches. A piece of wire netting in the middle divides 
the box into two pens. Place a bird in each end. After they have 
seen and cooed to each other four or five days, the separating netting- 
can be removed, and the birds by this time will probably decide to stick 
together. 

Usually the males are larger than the hens, but not always. 

Food and Feeding 



ONE of the most important details in this industry is feeding the 
stock. ]\Iany breeders recommend using good screenings. I have 
had better results by using sound red wheat, which is eaten up clean^ 
while on the other hand there is much of the screenings which the 
birds refuse to eat. In buying grain, care should be taken to secure 

6 




Perspective View of Feeder partly in Section, showing Construction. 



One foot wide, four feet lonp:, one foot deep or high. 

This feeder is made of i^" pine, with tlie exceptions of lower side 
boards where feed holes are cut, which is >4" thick x 3>^" wide. Upper 
side boards are J/g" x 10^2" wide. Top and bottom are ^s" x 12" x 4 feet 
long End pieces are 10 inches high, making it, with the top and bottom, 
12 inches full height of feeder x 4 feet long. There is also one solid piece 
of spruce 4x4, triangle shape, to go on the full length of bottom mside 
to keep the feed from falling down faster then the birds eat it, also to 
keep the rats from getting into the feeder. Feed holes are 1 '/a" wide 
xl^"deep. 



good, dry material. Xever feed white wheat. New wheat and new 
corn are to be avoided as both create bowel trouble. There is nothing 
better than good sonnd dry red wheat, and sound cracked corn. These 
should be fed separately. Feed wheat three weeks and then give the 
Ihrds a feeding of corn for a week, and then go back to wheat. Owing 
to the fact that corn absorlis moisture quickly, it is best to buy only 
a small quantity at a time, as it will produce sickness and disease of 
the throat and bowels if fed to your stock when it is damp and musty. 
"Wheat is not so apt to become moubly. l)ut it should be kept in a dry 
corner. The corn should be cracked coarse, as if it is too fine there 
is consideraljle loss in feeding it. A kernel cracked in two is about 
the proper size. These two grains are the staple food for pigeons at 
all times, although a little variety is often beneficial, such as Canada 
peas, buckwheat, millet and hemp. The latter is a great tonic to weak 
or sickly birds, and most l)reeders make it a rule to give their flocks 
a feeding of hemp at least once a month. It is greatly relished by 
the birds, but it is very stimulating and heating. The only green food 
given is lettuce. This is not necessary. Stale Ijread crumljled up is 
often relished, and not harmful occasionally. 

]\Iuch food is often wasted l)y giving the flock too much. They 
should only be given just as mucli as they eat u]) clean. If you find 
there is some food left over, the next time you prepare it decrease the 
amount. The more squabs your l)irds are raising the more food tliey 
will eat. There should always be a box of fresh sharp sand near l)y. 
Old mortar is also very good for the birds, and, if possible, it would 
be good to have some on hand. It should be pounded up fine. 

The feeding trough, as shown in the illustration, is much fancied 
by many breeders. 

Breeding and Hatching 



AFTEIi your pigeons are well mated, they sliould be turned loose 
• in the general house or flying pen. They will go together and 
will soon begin to build their nests. After this is accomplished the 
hen should begin to lay. Two eggs are all a hen should cover. She 
will probably lay the two eggs within two days, although sometimes 
two or three days intervene ])i'tweeii tliem. Some beginners are inclined 

7 



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A Pair of Eggs 




One Week Old 



to put three eggs uncler a pair of birds to hatch. This is unwise, as 
even if the three eggs prove fertile and produce three squabs, the 
parent birds cannot properly feed three young ones, and one or two 
of them are sure to be poorly fed and undersized. 

The hen and the cock work on the hatching process equally — 
that is the male does part of the work. The hen covers her eggs from 
about four o'clock in the afternoon until ten the following morning, 
when her lord and master comes to relieve her, and lie covers the nest 
until four in the afternoon. It is well to examine the eggs on the 
third or fourth day of incubation to ascertain, if possible, if they are 
fertile. Hold them in the hand between the eye and a strong light. 
If thev are infertile and useless they will be transparent and cloudless, 
if fertile they will appear to be dark and clouded. Frequently you 
will discover one egg to be fertile, and the other not. If you are 
having many pairs hatcliing you will probably find these conditions 
to prevail in another nest, and the fertile egg from each can be put 
under one of the setting pairs, and the other broken up. The disap- 
pointed couple will liegin in a week or two and have a couple of more 
eggs to start anew. 

It takes from sixteen to eighteen days to hatch the eggs. If at 
the end of that time no squab l)reaks through, it is useless to allow the 
parents to continue setting. While the eggs might have proven fertile 
by the test on the third or fourth day, the young may have died in 
embryo — in the shell. It frequently happens that only one bird is 
hatched. After the parents have fed off their soft stuff for about a 
week, it should be transferred to another nest where there is but one 
squab. The parent birds which are known to be the best feeders should 
be chosen, and the other pair, who will lie without any young ones then, 
will soon be laying again. 

Sometimes a mated pair will build and go to nest, having per- 
formed all their duties, and not produce any eggs. In such a case 
it is safe to assume that the hen is barren or too young. If possible, 
secure two eggs from other nests where three have been laid, and set 
them under the pair. They will prol^ably sit on them and raise the 
young. If a hen goes to nest once or twice without laying any eggs, 
she is undoiibtedly barren, and it is best to dispense with her. 

Owing to the fact that the parents feed their young — the squabs 
require no attention from the breeder. Al)out the time the eggs should 
8 



hatch, all the food eaten l)y the parent Ijirds becomes a chymey con- 
sistency, called " pigeon's milk." This is fed to the yonng from the 
beginning — before they even have their eyes opened. The old birds 
take the bills of their offspring in their mouths, and by a peculiar 
motion force it down their throats. This continues for some time, 
and later, when the squabs are older tlieir parents feed them whole 
grain. While the parent birds are in this soft food period, their young 
should never be taken from them, as it will injure the liealth of the 
old birds. They have to "feed off'" their milky substance, and if 
they lose their young from any cause, the breeder should take young 
birds, of about the same age to the nest and let them receive the 
soft food of the squabless pair. They can then be replaced in their 
own nest and will again l)e fed by their real parents. 

It will often be noticed that one squab will get more food than 
the other. Consequently it will l)ecome fat and plump while the 
other will be half starved and scrawny. This can be equalized l)y 
putting such a squab in a nest where the parents have not hatched 
either egg, and have their supply of soft food for their young awaiting 
to be used. 



H u s i 71 g the S t c 



CAEE should be taken in the selection of the place you intend to 
build your pigeon house. You should try to have your building 
warm in Winter and as cool as possible in Summer. It is very im- 
portant that it sliould l)e dry. Dampness and continual moisture 
are very injurious. Try to have your pigeon house face Southward. 

If you have a barn on your place it will save you the expense 
of erecting a separate building, as you may Ije able to convert a 
portion of it into a pigeon loft. Try to make it as airy and light as 
possible. It is necessary to have a flying pen or flight on the side 
of the Ijuilding if you use a part of a l)arn. This can easily be done 
by erecting substantial posts, say two l)y four, and then using one- 
inch wire mesh netting. Make your place as large as possible as it 
is only natural to suppose your flocks will increase and will need 
all tlie room you can gQ\ later on. 

9 




Two Weeks Old 




Three Weeks Old 




Four Weeks Old 



If you decide to Iniild a house exclusively for your pigeons I 
could not reconiuiend a better one than I describe below. It was 
only after careful study that I chose this style of building, and ex- 
])erience has taught me that my judgment in this instance was surely 
right. My houses are one hnndred feet long, and I will give you 
dimensions based on that scale. 

The building should be set upon locust posts or brick piers, about 
fifteen inches from the ground, and on these rest the sills. Floor 
beams should then be laid abont two and a half feet apart. A double 
floor is necessary as it will keep out rats and dampness. 

Tlie carpenter will of course put heavy paper between the double 
flooring. The building should be sheathed, papered and sided. In 
warm climates it is not necessary to have double walls, but in localities 
where the Winters are severe it is well to have double walls as this 
will aid greatly in keeping the building warm during the cold spells. 
The house should be painted and have a good shingle roof. The 
height of building should be ten feet in the rear and six feet in front. 
This will give the roof a four-foot slant. If the roof is made too 
flat it will leak very quickly. 

A house one hundred feet long should be twelve feet wide. 
Along the north side a passageway of three feet should run the en- 
tire length of the building. There should be four partitions which 
will cut up the building into five different pens, each eighteen feet. 
Each pen will accommodate 75 pairs or 150 birds. This will leave a 
space of ten feet at the end of the building which can be used as a 
feed room or a picking room. Tlie pens should be separated from 
the passageway by inch boards running from the floor to the roof. 

The south side should have two windows with two six-light sashes 
in each section or pen, and on the north side of the building there 
should be four six light windoAvs. The windows should all slide so 
they can be opened to any point desired. It is not necessary to have 
the windows covered over with wire to prevent breakage, as they are 
rarely broken. 

Inch boards running from the roof to the floor arc all that is 
required to make the partitions or pens. The doors leading from the 
passageway to each section or pen need only be made of wire screen 
to prevent the escape of the birds. 

The flying pen should lie Imilt from the south side of the 
10 



pigeon house. It should extend thirtv-two feet and run the length 
of the huilding. The frame is made of spruce joists two hv four, and 
should rise six feet from the ground. They should be set equal dis- 
tances apart in three rows parallel with the side of the building, six 
posts in each row. The outer row su])ports the end of the fly, thirty- 
two feet from the Iniilding. Another row is set half way in toward 
the house and a third row alongside of the building. These posts 
should be so placed as to divide the flying pen into five sections — 
each being eighteen feet wide and thirty-two long, thus giving each 
lot of 150 birds a separate room and flying pen. 

The netting to enclose this pen should be one-inch mesh. The 
top of course has to be covered. Doors opening from the building 
into each section are necessary. There should be a board about ten 
inches in height nailed around the bottom of the flying pen, close to 
the ground. There should also l)e a number of perches in each pen 
for the birds to rest upon. 

The photographs will show how simply the nests are constructed. 
Thev are made of long lengths of boxing board, fourteen inches wide. 
These form the shelving — really the top and l)ottom of the next 
boxes. Then pieces, ten inches by fourteen, are set in the proper 
distance apart. The finished nests will be fourteen inches from front 
to back, ten inches from top to bottom and twenty inches wide. After 
all these are made, take boards one half inch thick, and ten inches 
wide, and running from the floor to the top of the highest shelf, and 
nail against the nests. This will half close them, that is, leave only 
ten inches open. This affords the birds privacy and protection and 
they always build their nests behind these boards. Squabs grow larger 
and thrive better in dark corners. Only one nest box is necessary 
for each pair. The parent l)irds will start to building a new nest in 
the opposite corner of their box, after their young are two weeks old. 



D 



a 



PIGEOXS like any other members of the aninuil kingdom are sub- 
ject to ills and ailments. A breeder who has a flock of good 
size expects some sickness among his birds occasionally. He should 
be alert, and try to treat such cases in the early stages. If the bird 






m 

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tL. 



CO 



or birds do not respond quickly to the treatment given, the breeder 
will find it is easiest and best to do away with them. It does not 
pay to give too much attention to any one bird no matter what the 
tr()ul)le is. After a bird has Ijeen sick and recovers, it is often a long 
time before it will be in condition to l)egin breeding again. It is 
better to try to avoid sickness by keeping your stock healthy by having 
good airy houses, giving them the proper food and keeping them 
clean. The houses should Ije frequently whitewashed and kerosene 
used as a sprinkler as often as possil)le. It is easier to prevent disease 
than it is to cure it. 

Pigeons are sul)ject to enteritis, roup, canker, cholera, going 
light, egg-bound, small-pox, wing disease, worms and colds. 



E n t c 



s 



Tins is an inflammation of the bowels and usually follows a cold. 
'J'he bird thus affected has a puffed up condition of the feathers, 
and there is a l)loody discharge of mucus. Give a few drops of 
paregoric three times a ilay and put the bird in a warm place. 

Roup 



THIS is a very contagious disease, and should Ije stamped out as 
quickly as ])ossilde. The l)irds affected witli it should be re- 
moved from the others, as it will quickly spread. Sometimes a num- 
ber of birds will be ill with it at once and the breeder will l)e at a 
loss to account for its appearance. It is often caused by severe 
changes in the tem|)erature, especially if the weather has been dry. 
warm and sunny and then changes to damp, dull and chilly. 

Koup is miasmatic, as it appears suddenly. It is a catarrhal 
disease, and affects the mucous meml)ranes of the throat, nostrils and 
mouth. There is a discharge of mucous matter from the nostrils, 
and if neglected it becomes very offensive. When there is difficulty 
in l)reathing. make a pill of l)lack pepper and l)utter. equal parts of 
each, the size of an ordinary ])ea and thrust down tlie throat, which 
12 



slioultl also be swalibed with a solution of chlorate of potash. A so- 
lution of peroxide of hydrogen should be used to wash the nostrils 
and the inside of the mouth, when there is a discharge of mucus from 
either. 



c 



a n 



Is a form of diphtheria and is accompanied by high fever, congestion, 
swelling of the blood vessels of the throat and small white ulcers, 
which rapidly spread over the mouth and throat. Canker is likely 
to appear when there is a long period of damp cold weather. Birds 
affected should be isolated to prevent the disease spreading to others. 
Tlie nests occupied by them should l)e thoroughly disinfected. When 
squabs get canker it does not pay to treat them if the disease has 
made much progress. If an examination shows canker spots in the 
mouth, they should be painted with a solution of lemon juice and 
sugar, or get some powdered hurnt alum and apply the same way. 
Place a small piece of alum in the drinking water. Before placing 
the affected birds back with the rest of your flock you should be 
perfectly satisfied that the birds are cured. When you discover some 
of your pigeons have canker, remove them immediately and put a 
little alum in the drinking water of the whole flock, and thus prob- 
al)ly prevent the disease attacking them. 

C h I e r a 



THIS is caused by feeding the stock new wheat, foul screenings, 
musty corn, or some other improper food, and it is known as 
a warm weather disease. The affected bird mopes, becomes weak, 
and the plumage gets dull. There is a diarrhoea of a greenish color, 
which can be stopped by putting a tablespoonful of quicklime in 
about two gallons of the drinking water. Change of food will often 
effect a remedy, and some breeders place a little prepared chalk 
in the drinking water. This disease is not hard to cure, and if care 
is taken in the food given the breeder will not be much bothered 
with it. 

13 



rr K 



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VieTv, showing Two and Four Weeks Squab 



Going L i g h 



THIS is an expression among pigeon-raisers for a disease which 
is in reality a wasting away. It is accompanied by diarrhoea, 
whicli clings to the vent, soiling the feathers and making a very 
dirty condition. The affected bird's plumage becomes discolored, 
its eyes become dull and its motions uncertain and erratic. The 
breast-bone will become sharp and prominent, and the bird will lose 
its plumpness. ^Many breeders, when they see indications of this 
disease, pluck out the entire tail, and I have seen beneficial results 
from this. A grain of quinine and two cod liver oil capsules should 
be given daily and mix a small quantity of hemp seed with the (u- 
dinary food. The recovery is generally complete when the tail has 
grown in again. This of course takes time, and the birds are " out 
of business *' quite a little while. 

Egg Bound 



THIS trouble often occurs with young hens. Usually the first 
Qgg a hen lays is jjassed without trouble, but the second one 
often is clogged. A hen thus distressed loses the use of her legs, 
and the breeder knows immediately what is the matter. The ^gg can 
be located by feeling the abdomen. The passage way should be rubbed 
with vaseline or sweet oil and the finger introduced as far as possible. 
Extreme care must be taken not to break the Qgg while inside. Then 
hold the abdomen over steam, which will thoroughly warm and relax 
the parts. She should then be placed upon her nest where she will 
soon pass the Qgg. Before steaming the hen it is good to give a little 
molasses internally. Tin's will assist her. 

Small Pox 



Is very contagious and care should be taken to prevent it spreading. 
Birds so affected should be kept by themselves. It first appears 
14 



in the form of yiiiall sores around the head and quickly spreads to 
the neck making a large mass of scabhy sores, which should be washed 
with a solution of ])lue vitriol. This will usually effect a cure, and 
prevent it spreading. 

W / n g Disease 



Is a formation of a tumor, which causes a stiffening of the joints 
of the wing, preventing the bird from flying. If you notice 
that any of your birds have difficulty in flying and are inclined to 
drag one wing on the ground, you will undoubtedly discover a small 
inflamed spot on the wing joint. 

This grows larger and larger, if not attended to. The tumor 
becomes filled with a cheesy, yellow uuitter, which finally l)reaks 
through the skin. The l)est remedy is to paint the sore with iodine, 
or rub it with strong spirits of camphor two or three times a day. 
Often after a cure is effected the wing will remain stiff and useless. 
but the bird will still l)e useful as a lu'ecder although it will be com- 
pelled to make his nest on the floor. 



w 



r m 



SOMETIMES pigeons will be eating as usual, and not appear to 
Ijc doing well. In such cases watch their dung, and you will 
probably find worms. One of the Ijest remedies is garlic. In the 
morning, before feeding, give a piece of garlic the size of a l)ean. 
or make a pill of butter and areca nut and give the sick l)ird a ca|)- 
sule of castor oil for a day or so. Some breeders use a snudl piece 
of gum aloes size of a pea. 

Colds 



c 



AN be remedied by giving a one grain ([uinine ])ill and a capsule 
of cod liver oil twice a day. Tliose uu-dicines are also good to 

J5 




Passage on North Side of Building, showing Wire Door leading 
to Breeding Pen 




CM 



give as a tonic during the moulting season, when the birds seem to 
be moping and not shedding welL The sooner the moulting is over 
the quicker the birds will begin breeding again. As a stimulant, 
hemp and canary seed should Ije fed during this period. 

As a tonic, it is well to have some Douglass Mixture put in the 
drinking vessels during the moulting season. A tablespoonful should 
be put into a pint of the drinking water. It is nuide by dissolving 
a half pound of green co])peras in two gallons of water; then add 
one ounce of sulphuric acid. 



M a n u 



IX Iniilding a pigeon house the perches should be so placed as to be 
able to scrape and gather up the droppings of the birds. Pigeon 
manure is much in demand, and all should be saved and collected. 
There is nothing richer as a fertilizer, but it brings too high a price 
to be used extensively for that purpose. All tanneries use it. and 
it can be easily sold. 'J'he cleaner it is the more it brings. Try to 
keep it free from sticks, straw and tobacco stems. Absorl:)ent should 
be spread on the dropping boards. It should be gathered twice a 
week and kept in barrels. It is better uot to sell it until a quantity 
has Ijeen accumulated. 



Feathers 



EVP]X the feathers of the l)irds can be turned into profit. They 
should be collected and put into bags. The feathers the birds 
drop during the moulting season, together with those plucked from 
the squabs, should be accumulated and steamed. When you have 
a quantity on hand they can be sold very easily. The wing and tail 
feathers should not be kept as there is no denmnd for them, and 
they are without value. 
16 



Liice^ and how to Kxterminate them 



THE squab raiser must keep a sharp lookout for lice. Xaturallj 
thev are more prevalent during the warm weather, but they 
will haunt ^'our loft or pen winter and summer if you are lax in 
keeping your plant clean. The more manure in a house the more 
lice there will be. Plenty of water batlis should l^e provided. These 
will be used and appreciated by the old birds, but the young ones, 
not knowing how to l:)athe. will l)i' pestered a great deal. Ifany 
squabs are lost by lice. They become sickly and die off quickly. 

I recommend the liberal use of kerosene oil. It does not hurt 
or injure tlie birds and is sure death to the lice. It should be freely 
sprinkled over the empty nests, corners and perches. It should be 
squirted into all cracks and openings. A man should try to keep 
his flock as healthy as possilde, and one of the most essential things 
is cleanliness. If some of your birds seem to be lice ridden, and 
cannot shake them off, it is best to get rid of the birds. Your whole 
flock might become contaminated and your troul)lfs would increase 
many fold. 

The constant apjdication of kerosene will keep your place in 
good condition. 



W a 



PURE fresh water is one of the most important things the breeder 
should look after. Impure, stagnant water causes disease very 
quickly. If possible, it is best to iiave a flow of water continually 
running thrimgli the pigeon house. In most cases this is not practical 
without a good deal of expense. The drinking water should be so 
arranged that the bird cannot bathe in it. Drinking fountains, so 
constructed as to leave only a little water exposed, are much favored 
by some breeders. An ordinary drinking pan can be covered with 
wire netting, so that the birds can only drink from it. If the 
drinking pan is flat and open, the birds will batlie in it. and thus 
impurity it. 

17 



o 



CO 

c 



w 





PQ 



s 

o 

GO 



Bathing pans should be made of galvanized iron, twenty inches 
in diameter and abont five inches deep. They shonld be filled at 
least twice a day. The oftener the better. This is the only way 
a bird may keep itself free from lice, as they do not take dirt baths. 
The more lice a bird has, the more frequently the bird will want 
to bathe. The Ijatliing pans should be kept out in the yard all year 
around. 

When the batliing })ans are put in the yard, tlie breeder should 
see that the birds do not drink out of it after some of them have 
bathed in it, as it invariably will cause sickness. 



Sal 



THE breeder who is anxious to have his birds in good health 
should always see that a supply of salt is accessible. It should 
always be handy for the l)irds who will take it as they require it. 
Salt is as necessary as water. Eock salt is the best kind to use, as 
fine salt would probably be quickly devoured with injurious results; 
as it is easier for the birds to eat, they are inclined to take too much. 
Place the piece of rock salt where the birds can easily get at it, and 
it will answer all purposes. Some breeders, however, prefer to use 
table salt, getting it in five or ten pound bags. It should then be 
thoroughly wet and placed in an oven and baked. It will bake into 
a solid cake. The bag is then cut aw^ay and it is placed within reach 
of the pigeons. The caked condition of the salt prevents the birds 
from eating too much. 

A composition known as a '' salt-cat '" is used by many i)igeon 
raisers. One way of mixing the above is to take about a half peck 
each of brick-maker's loam, sharp sand, and old lime mortar, tlie 
latter, of course, should be free from hair, add to this one-half pound 
caraway seed, one-half pound coriander, one-half pound of crushed 
cummin seed and one pint of salt. These should all be mixed to- 
gether, and dampened with stale urine until it is about like stiff 
mortar. This should then be made into cakes and baked in the rays 
of the sun. It can then be placed in the pigeon house the same as 
the rock salt, and the birds wall soon be eating it. 
18 



N 



IT is the natural instinct of the pigeons about to lay. to build 
their own nests, and this desire should be gratified by placing 
witliin their reach material with which they can build. Tobacco 
stems are favored l)y many breeders as they can be secured very 
easil}', often without cost from cigar makers. These should be thrown, 
a few at a time, in one corner of the breeding house. The birds 
will tal^e as many as they require and build tlieir nests in a natural 
way. Tlie tol)acco stems are also good in ridding the setting l)irds 
of lice. 

Dressing Squab 



WHEX about four weeks old, squabs are ready for market. 
Some parent birds fatten their young more quickly than 
others, and in some cases the squaljs are ready when twenty-five 
days old. If some of tlie young ones do not appear to l)e in good 
condition it is well to leave them in the nest for another week. The 
abdomen sliouhl l)e liard and firm, and with a little practice the 
breeder will soon l)e able to judge when squabs are in the proper 
condition. Wlien they begin to leave the nest it is time they should 
be killed and dressed for market. 

Squabs should be collected and boxed up the day before you 
intend killing them. Xo food should be given them, so their crops 
will be empty. They look better and sell better if there is no food 
in their crops. If by chance you discover there is some grain or 
food in them, it can be squeezed out with the fingers. 

Some breeders kill the s(|ual)s by grasping the neck in the left 
hand, the fingers of which clutch the bird's body. The neck is given 
a gentle firm pull and then is pushed back, thus l)reaking the spine, 
instantly killing the bird. 

Another way, and which I consider a l)etter one, is cutting the 
jugular vein from inside. The bird should be firmly held in the 
left hand, the wings and feet should be held tightly, and tlie head 
held between the first finger and thumb. A sharp-pointed knife 

J9' 



is then inserted in the mouth, and the jugular vein at the hack of 
the liead can be easily severed. 

If many birds are to be killed it will be convenient if an empty 
barrel is placed in the killing room. From the top of this barrel 
hang about four cords, nine inches long each, with a slip knot in 
the end. Take the squab and pass the noose around its legs, then 
insert the knife in the l)ack of its mouth and draw it forward. This 
will cut the brain and cause instant death. Drop the bird on the 
inside of the barrel, and let it hang there until all the blood runs 
out. Four ])irds can be killed in turn quickly this way. The pluck- 
ing of the feathers should be started as soon as the bird is bloodless. 
This work should be done quickly, but carefully, as it is important 
not to tear the skin or flesh. The head and tail feathers should 
be pulled first as they come out easier when the bird is just killed. 

When the squabs are picked they should be thrown into a tub 
of cold Avater, slightly salted, and left to remain there thirty or forty 
minutes. This plumps them out and gives them a good appearance, 
and drives out the animal heat. 

The feet and moutlis of the l)irds sliould l)e washed, and there 
should be no sign of dirt or blood on any squab. The wings should 
be folded across the back and the left leg of one Inrd should be tied 
to the right leg of another. C*are should he taken to have two birds 
of about the same size and plumpness tied together. 

It is well to set aside a certain day of the week as a " killing 
day," and then kill only on that day. The squabs can be collected 
the night before, and kept without food twelve to fifteen hours. 

Shipping and Selling 

IX winter or cold weather the squabs should be ship})ed to market, 
packed in strong boxes, which should lie so constructed as to 
permit the circulation of aii'. The birds should be laid in layers, 
breast clown. Do not put more than six layers of birds in a box, 
as they are apt to be crushed and flattened. Place the poorest birds 
at the bottom, leaving the best ones for the top. 

In summer place a layer of cracked ice in the bottom of the 
l)ox, and then a layer of squabs, and thus alternate until the box is 
20 



filled. The ice will naturally melt, and the water dripping ddwn 
on the birds will keep them cool and moist. 

Each squab raiser has to find his own customers. There is such 
a demand, however, that he will experience little difficulty in this 
direction. If you ship to a commission merchant you will get ten 
or twenty per cent, less for your stock. As he has to make a profit 
when he sells them, he is compelled to pay you less than he gets. 

It is often possible to build up a trade of your own among 
hotels, clubs and private families. To do this it is necessary to be 
able to supply a certain number each week. Private families are the 
most desirable as they pay the largest prices. 

Squabs bring such a small price during the summer months 
that it is considered best to raise your summer squabs to breeders. 
By winter they will have mated, and will then begin to produce 
squabs themselves. 

A Chapter of Hints 



Do not expect to get rich in six months in the squab business. 
Success will come to you in time, but you must have patience. 
Do not make much commotion when you go among your birds. Do 
your work quietly, and your pigeons will not become frightened 
when you approach them. 

If you find some of your birds very combative, and always trying 
to pick a fight with the others, it is best to get rid of them as soon 
as possible. They disturb the whole flock. If you find a bird to 
be sickly, and cannot determine just what is the matter with it, I 
think it should be destroyed so as not to infect the rest of your birds. 

Use one-inch mesh wire netting in building flying pens. This 
will keep out rats and sparrows. 

Clean out the nest boxes and pons at least once a week with 
a steel scraper or trowel. After the nests are cleaned, a hoe is used 
to loosen the droppings on the floor, and all should be shoveled into 
a barrel or basket which should be kept in the passage way or a 
convenient corner. 

Drinking fountains, bath pans, scrapers, etc., can be bought 
at almost any poultry-supply store. 

2\ 



Table of Contents 



Introductory 

Starting -with good Stock 

Determining the Sex 

Food and Feeding 

Breeding and Hatching 

Housing the Stock 

Diseases - - - . 

Enteritis 

Roup .... 

Canker ... 

Cholera .... 

Going Light ■ 

Egg Bound 

Small Pox 

Wing Disease 

Worms 

Colds .... 

Manure 

Feathers - . - - 

Lice, and how to Exterminate them 

Water . - - - 

Salt ... - 

Nests .... 

Dressing Squab 

Shipping and Selling 

A Chapter of Hints - 



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PEC 22 1904